Antibiotic resistance is one of the largest challenges facing the veterinary and medical professions today. Yet equine practice still does not face the daily challenges of treating multiply resistant bacteria. This provides us with a window of opportunity to change prescribing practices, or face the risk of regulatory restrictions.

BEVA has produced a range of tools under the PROTECT ME brand (www.beva.org.uk/protectme), aimed at veterinary surgeons and horse owners. This year BEVA are focussing on Education, providing resources for owners and veterinary surgeons. An open access virtual issue of Equine Veterinary Journal has been made available, highlighting important publications in this area relevant to the veterinary practitioner.

It is known that the general public do not fully understand the problems with antimicrobial resistance. Therefore a ‘Client Information Leaflet’ has been produced that explains the concepts of antimicrobial resistance in simple to understand terminology. This is one of a series of Client Information Leaflets being provided for members to help them comply with the requirements of the VMD, the medicines module of the new practice standards scheme and the code of professional conduct, which requires informed consent be given for such medicines.

Mark Bowen, President of BEVA said ‘We hope these leaflets will facilitate the process of informed consent, whereby important information about these medicines is provided to owners, together with potential side effects seen in horses. We have provided these for 12 such medicines used in equine practice and will continue to develop these as required.’ These documents can be downloaded from www.beva.org.uk/cascade, alternatively BEVA have provided labels to affix to medicines bottles with a QR code and a shortened URL that clients can follow. 

Tim Mair, who lead BEVA’s contributions to the new practice standards scheme said: "The importance and threats posed by antibiotic and anthelmintic resistance are irrefutable. Unsurprisingly, these issues feature significantly in the new Practice Standards Scheme awards. The Client Information Leaflets on antibiotics and the ones on medicines being dispensed under the Cascade will be invaluable aids to practices in their ability to comply with the VMD regulations as well as the requirements of the Medicines module of the new Practice Standards Scheme."